14 January 2006

Tourist in Amsterdam

Shweyta Mudgal (my senior from KRVIA) dropped in to visit my fellow Indian at the Berlage – Chintan. What better excuse do I need to do a bit of travelling, so what if it’s only Amsterdam? Though I’ve been there a couple of times, I was yet to do the typical touristy circuits.

Along with Shweyta and me I dragged my good friend from far far away (somewhere in the beautiful Caribbean Islands) – Melisa. And to say the least I had a great time, it’s always nice to be a plain and simple Tourist.

The most well known Dutch Souvenir – the wooden shoe – at a typical tourist shop. (Read more about this strange gift item here - http://library.thinkquest.org/11318/thinkqGB.html)

First stop – the famous RED LIGHT DISTRICT of the city, barely a 10 minutes walk from the Central station, this notorious area was actually not so notorious. There the oldest known profession to Human-kind was in no way looked down upon, in fact its quiet the opposite. We witnessed the most organized system of prostitution on the planet, complete with guided tours operated by former sex-workers.

Architecturally speaking the whole area is amazing. A labyrinth of narrow pedestrian streets are lined with glass doors on either side where the Girls (and I’ve heard even Guys at times) are on display. The red light on the outside is the only sign board there is to the facility but I guess that it’s clear and effective enough. Once you zero in on your choice of Door you just have to knock and negotiate. If you strike a deal you step in to a room generally sized not more than a closet, with the smallest possible double bed and the rest I’m sorry has to be censored here.

After the strange experience of the Red Light District we decided to see something more sane and easy to digest. After a brief walk through the central area of Amsterdam we headed for the famous Canal ride through the hundreds of small canals criss-crossing the city.

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